Over My Dead Body

Author: Morris De Haan

It had been a harsh winter for Simon. Business had been slow. On his feet at four a.m, shaking from the cold, he fumbled through his humble possessions, looking for his old gun. A new assignment had come up, and Sheriff Watson wanted it to be over by the evening.' Be on your porch by four fifteen am sharp!' The sheriff had always been an early riser, looks like it's going to be a long day, Simon thought. After a quick breakfast of five mugs of Colombian coffee and as many cigarettes, Simon went to his old porch. The fog had thickened. Sheriff's Watson van, squeaking as usual, screeched and stopped abruptly at the same spot as it did yesterday. The sheriff mustache was twitching. After exhaling a long plume of smoke from his morning cigar, the sheriff exploded. 'Simon, you fool, are you completely out of your mind?'

'What do you mean?' Simon blurted.

'What I mean is that Ed "three fingers" wife has been seen leaving Hardy's last night with you.' Simon smiled. 'Sheriff Watson, I hope that you do not believe for one moment that I am courting her without weighing all the consequences?' Sheriff Watson drove through the small town, sinking in his thoughts. Music blurted from Hardy's hang-out. Watson drove past like he was trying to run from hell.

I work as a private investigator, known in the lowest places of the organized crime as "the handsome pig ". I went to "Hardy's" that night. One can meet almost all the bad guys of the organized crime in the town. Some of them are small fishes. Almost all of them have spent some time at the "Big House" or bought the farm, after an affair about dope or murder, and a snitch who sold them cheap. Only one of them stood high above the crowd: Ed "three fingers". The single drawback was that he was so ugly that it has been hushed that even his mother didn't quite believe her eyes after she gave birth. Anyway, the talk of the evening was: "where was one-eyed John," whose tracks definitely disappeared that same evening, after being assigned by Ed "three fingers" to one simple task; To deliver a parcel of fine coke to another mafia boss named" Alexandro Della pergola", as a gesture of good will, after being tipped by the latest that another gang was trying to take over a business held in partnership.

The gamblers exploited the occasion, until Ed "Three fingers" raised a finger from his good hand. The crowd went quiet. 'I'll take care of it.' Now you have to understand. When Ed "three fingers" says in public that he will take care of it, it means that he is going to use "the little red riding hood" snare. The only choice left to one-eyed John was to urgently look for a place to spend his remaining days, preferably on another planet. Ed "three fingers" never forget anyone, even if one tries to hide in the remotest place. We'll come back to that story.

Everybody was there at the bar that evening. Even "winky" Dolly. She has that almost permanent twitch in her right eye, which always gave the impression that she permanently was interested in a love affair.

As the fog became grayer, Watson drove on with his usual carelessness.

I thought about Dolly, Ed's companion. A real looker, that one.

Dyed hair, blue eyes with a hint of mischievousness, she looked at the world with a Greta Garbo kind of look. She has that walk which would send any believer to hell only for his thoughts. "The Swedish" was her nickname. I sat that same night at a table in one corner of the room. She sat at the bar, her shaped legs dangling, sipping a pink drink. We looked at each other, and that was it. Yes indeed, Hardy's was a nice place, but only for the chosen few.

Snow had set quietly upon the hills, now mingling with the fog that had risen during the night. Watson tried his best not to slide on the hardened ice.

'Where are we going?' I said.

Watson swore after he almost drove over a fallen branch.

'We are going to pay a visit to one-eyed john. He called me last night.'

'For god's sake, Watson! You know one-eyed john hiding place?'

Watson's cigar twitched violently.

'I owe him one. John asked to be incarcerated for the time being. He has nowhere else to go. We'll think what to do with him afterwards.'

'And you brought me along because…'

Watson blew a smoke screen.

'My dear Simon, don't you go to the movies? For heaven's sake! Ed three fingers and his bunch may well be waiting on the road when we return. He wants his coke back.'

'What do you mean? I said with a hint of dread in my voice.'

'I suspect that I have a snitch in my own office, Watson snorted.'

What I like most about Watson is that he always let you have the cherry from the pie until the very end.
I tried to look at Watson through the smoke.

And idiot with a gun, that's what I am. I had no choice. What the hell. I checked my old gun. I forgot to tell you. Ed three fingers and I go way back. So we developed a weird kind of friendship, in spite of his being a little slow. The reason for the nickname Ed "three fingers" was that he asked me once to train him how to use a fragmentation grenade. He had that small "problem" to resolve. I couldn't say no. we met at an open field, far from the bustling crowd. The fragmentation grenade exploded not very far from Ed, after he insisted on using a real one. Ed "three fingers" hated forgery. He counted very slowly too.

One-eyed john lived for two things. Money and booze. Sleeping on the floor among many bottles of the latest, "one-eyed" john hadn't shaved nor bathed for quite a while. Watson woke him up by shooting a few bullets. We drove back, with john sleeping in the back of the van. Light from the street lamps was scarce.

Passed Hardy's, Watson made a turn to his house.

'I thought we were going to put "one-eyed" john in prison?'

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  • Reviewed by Assaf  on  January 16th, 2011

    Excellent story.It seems this author has a lot of potential.

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